I think the American Revolution had to be not only one of the most pivotal times in American History, of course, but one that created tragic, emotional, and tumultuous lives for many. The Loyalist’s Wife, by Elaine Cougler, is a novel told about a British Loyalist, John, who joins a British regiment, leaving his wife Lucy to tend their farm. She is angry at first and scared (who wouldn’t be?), but the novel showcases both of their struggles and drive for survival as the war tears them apart.
It’s not that often we find novels of the American Revolution, especially ones sold in America that err from the side of the British, but I am glad Elaine wrote such a novel to allow us a glimpse at the other side of the coin. She shows us a common British man who had a strong loyalty to their home country, one that most thought would also be strong enough to continue to rule the colonies. She shows us that, as with most war, there are two sides to every story. There were real families fighting each other, not just colonists fighting a tyrannical monarchy. These British men living in North America had wives and families that they had to leave, just like the angst-filled colonists who demanded a better system, in order to fight for a cause they felt justified in following. It was unsafe for these women and there were many types of people they had to deal with, many in not so nice situations.
Elaine’s novel gives us an authentic glimpse, through John and Lucy, of what struggles Loyalist families endured on behalf of the Crown. I didn’t enjoy reading about John and Lucy’s turmoil because it was so sad, but I did enjoy reading this book. Elaine writes a novel that is easy for most readers to relate to inside a foundation of proper research and historical detail. The revolution had more to it than just making the United States free; it also had alot to do with Canada. We never seem to hear stories of Loyalists and it was enlightening.
I also enjoy any novels that include Native American experiences in history. Native Americans were such an instrumental part of our history. I really am pleased when writers portray them as the helpful and kind people that they were (and are still) so that history can begin to be more accurate.
The main characters of John and Lucy were both so strong, determined, and courageous. Their life crisis kept me turning the pages to see how all this would play out for them and their future. Elaine’s storytelling is brave and bold. Being Canadian, she probably didn’t have the need to remain loyal herself to just the Colonists. However, she doesn’t show the Colonists in a very good light, which might be true I suppose based on other accounts I’ve read! But I would warn any die-hard American patriot reader, because they must brace themselves to open their eyes to hear some truth of the other side. However, I do feel like the book might be portrayed by some as a little one-sided. As a reader myself, I just tried to read the novel for what I felt it was presented as: a book about early Loyalists to their British Crown who thought that the revolt wouldn’t last long at all. There were many common men and women just trying to survive, no matter what side they happened to be on.
Elaine has presented a wonderful, almost unique, story of the love of a family fighting for a cause they felt was justified. The other side of the American Revolution is portrayed in great detail in the novel, while also mixing in romantic suspense and historical colonial life. It’s definitely worth the read for anyone who enjoys books of the colonial period and the American Revolution. I look forward to the next two books of the series.
THE LOYALIST’S WIFE, Synopsis~
When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.
With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.
The Loyalist’s Wife is the first of three books in The Loyalist Trilogy. The Loyalist’s Luck is scheduled for release in June, 2014 and The Loyalist Legacy in June, 2015.
Praise for The Loyalist’s Wife~
“Elaine Cougler has written a page-turning novel of the American Revolution through the eyes of a conflicted loyalist soldier and his indomitable wife. You’ll feel the hardship of homesteading, the fear of the enemy, the blows of battle, and the pain of separation. You’ll be transported through history. This is not just a novel written about another time, it seems written in another time.” Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans, Stephen Leacock medal winner
Author Elaine Cougler, Biography~
A native of Southern Ontario, Elaine taught high school and with her husband raised two children until she finally had time to pursue her writing career. She loves to research both family history and history in general for the stories of real people who emanate from the dusty pages.
These days writing is Elaine’s pleasure and her obsession. Telling the stories of Loyalists caught in the American Revolutionary War is very natural as her personal roots are thoroughly enmeshed in that struggle, out of which arose both Canada and the United States.
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